Vogue Magazine shines a gleam of hope through special issues


Natalie Miranda, Assistant Culture Editor

Vogue, the crème de la crème of fashion magazines, combats the harsh realities of the world today by sharing its aspirations for a better tomorrow.

Through August and September, all 26 editions of Vogue published in 19 languages will unite under one common theme – hope – for the first time in the magazine’s 128-year history, according to Vogue.

The first global issue entitled “Hope” was born from the uncertainty brought on by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing fight against racial injustice and the accelerating impact of climate change.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the American Vogue, the U.S. artistic director and global content advisor of Condé Nast, expressed her view of the theme in the September edition.

“Hope may be hard to find in a moment of crisis, but it also feels more essential than ever. It’s part of our shared humanity, a source of delight and inspiration, and keeps us focused on a brighter future,” Wintour said in her editor’s letter.

Vogue is regarded as the fashion authority of the world. The magazine acts as the tastemaker that dictates what is worthy of attention, and this themed issue is an extension of their influence beyond the world of fashion.

“As a society we are being presented with what seems like more negative news every day or month. It’s gotten to the point where it feels like we have little to no time to fully heal or address the problems from one event before another impactful event takes place,” said CSUN student Vanessa Osorio.“Their decision to unite their editions shows our society that by coming together and working as a team, we can execute change and have something to look forward to no matter how far from it we may feel.”

The themed issue amplifies voices of positivity, including letters that share what hope means to figures like singer-songwriter Billie Eillish, athlete Serena Williams, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, philanthropist Melinda Gates, chief executive officer of Apple Tim Cook and artist Kara Walker.

“Hope may be hard to find in a moment of crisis, but it also feels more essential than ever. It’s part of our shared humanity, a source of delight and inspiration, and keeps us focused on a brighter future.”

– Anna Wintour

editor-in-chief  American Vogue


Each edition will embody the theme with varied interpretations.

Vogue’s U.S. September edition of “Hope” has two covers — one painted by artist Kerry James Marshall and the other by the artist Jordan Casteel. Both artists were given full artistic freedom aside from the requirement of deciding on one of the pre-selected dress options provided by Vogue.

The cover painted by Marshall dawns a dark-skinned fictional character with hardly visible features that are intentionally crafted to make people look, which represents the complexity of Blackness, according to Marshall.

“If you’re going to be painting a face as black as I’m painting them, they can’t just be a cipher, like a black hole. They have to be mysterious but available. If you say ‘Black is beautiful,’ you have to show it. And what I’m doing is showing it at the extreme. Yes, it is black — very black — and it is very beautiful,” Marshall said about his creation.

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For the September issue, we invited two artists, #KerryJamesMarshall and Jordan Casteel (@jordanmcasteel), to make paintings for our covers. For his cover, above, Marshall created a fictional character, as he typically does in his paintings. “I’m trying to build into her expression that she’s not dependent on the gaze of the spectator,” he says. “‘I’m here and you can see me, but I’m not here for you.’ That’s a critical element. The great word, ultimately, is going to be self-possessed. That’s what I’m aiming for.” The Black figures Marshall paints have skin so dark that it is, as he says, “at the edge of visibility.” To achieve this, Marshall begins with three different shades—carbon black, iron oxide black, also called mars black, and ivory black, also called bone black, and then adds cobalt blue, chrome green, carbazole dioxazine violet, yellow ochre, and raw sienna. “The color comes up when you stack them on top of each other,” he says. “If you’re going to be painting a face as black as I’m painting them, they can’t just be a cipher, like a black hole. They have to be mysterious but available. If you say ‘Black is beautiful,’ you have to show it. And what I’m doing is showing it at the extreme. Yes, it is black—very black—and it is very beautiful.” Tap the link in our bio to read more about the making of our September covers, which are part of our global reflection on #VogueHope. Artwork by #KerryJamesMarshall, written by Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, September 2020

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British Vogue’s September edition focuses on activism. The cover features a fold-out that showcases 20 activists, including Adwoa Aboah, an English fashion model, and Marcus Rashford, an English soccer player, on the front.

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Introducing #BritishVogue’s September 2020 issue, featuring a special fold-out cover starring 20 inspirational activists dedicated to making a change. First up: model and activist @AdwoaAboah, who has used her visibility to change perceptions around mental health, most notably through her platform @GurlsTalk, and international footballer and child poverty campaigner @MarcusRashford, who recently used his platform to lobby the government to fund free school meals for vulnerable children. From those tackling systemic racism to disability discrimination and domestic abuse, gender inequality to the climate crisis, in the new issue, @AfuaHirsch meets the activists determined to make a difference the world over. Swipe to see the full cover and read the full story at the link in bio. #VogueHope Featuring: @MarcusRashford @AdwoaAboah Second cover, from top left: @Meenals_World @TamikaDMallory @RizAhmed @JanetMock Professor Angela Davis Jane Elliott Alice Wong @Disability_Visibility @IJesseWilliams @JoanSmalls Third cover, from top left: @ReniEddoLodge Yvette Williams @OfficialJ4G @IAmPatrickHutchinson @OsopePatrisse @ClaraAmfo @BerniceAKing @JanayaTheFuture @FDwyer1980 Brittany Packnett Cunningham @MsPackyetti #MarcusRashford wearing @R13, @AColdWall & @Churchs and #AdwoaAboah wearing @Fenty, @Martine_Rose, @LockHatters, @Osoi_Official & @SLJLondon, photographed by @MisanHarriman and styled by @ItsDWallace, with hair by @EarlSimms2 and make-up by @CeliaBurtonMakeUp. With additional cover photography by @PhilipDanielDucasse, @KingTexas, @ChriseanRose, @EddieH__ and @KidNoble.

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Vogue Arabia highlights stories of resilience. One of the two September covers for the issue features Mila Abouchalbak, a Lebanese child affected by the Beirut port explosion earlier in August.

“She did not lose hope even though she saw her house demolished before her eyes, so she bore every appreciation and respect for other citizens who took to the city streets to clean it and rebuild it. Her future may seem vague, but she hopes that her country, Lebanon, will rise again,” Manuel Arnaut, Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief said of 7-year-old Abouchalbak.

Arnaut said the edition is dedicated to Lebanon’s youth.

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At the tender age of seven, Mila Abouchalbak is one of thousands of Lebanese children affected by the devastating explosions in Beirut. Yet, even seeing her home destroyed, she didn’t lose hope, and looked on as her fellow citizens took to the streets to clean and rebuild their city. While her future might look uncertain, she knows Lebanon will rise again, and is hopeful for her future as well as that of other children like her. Under the theme of HOPE, the Vogue Arabia September issue is dedicated to the brave individuals who inspire us. For our second cover, @Mila_abouchalbak will be joined by another female voice advocating for the empowerment and safety of Arab women. Can you guess who it is? Cover 1 of 2. #VogueHope #VogueforHope #VogueArabia ??? ???? ??????? ???? ?? ?????? ??? ?????? ???? ???????? ??? ???? ?????? ???? ???? ???? ????? ?? ??? ????? ???????? ?????????? ????????? ?? ???? ?????????? ??????? ???? ??? ????? ???????. ??? ????? ?????? ??? ?? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ??????? ????? ?? ????? ??????? ????????? ???????? ????? ????? ???? ????? ??????? ???????? ??????? ???????. ?? ???? ???????? ??????? ???? ?????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ????? ????? ?? ????. ?????? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ??????? ?? ???????? ????? ?????? ?????. ???? ????? “??????“? ???? ??? ??????? ??? ?????? ???????? ??????? ???? ????? ????????. ????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ????? ?????? ??????? ??? ????? ?????? ??????? ??????? ????????. ?? ???????? ????? ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ??????. #???_??????_??_??? #???_????_?????? #???_??????? Editor-in-chief: @mrarnaut Photography: @tarekmoukaddem | Style: @aminejreissaty  Hair/Makeup: @Ivannabeirut Production: @laura.prior.producer

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Vogue China’s September cover features actor and model Zhang Ziyi with the story of Nüwa, the goddess of creation, as the main inspiration of the cover, according to Vogue’s international Instagram account. In Chinese mythology, Nüwa is believed to have created humanity and repaired the pillars of heaven after it fell. The goddess is associated with hope.

Vogue Portugal’s edition has a 100% recycled polyester label on the cover that reads, “100% HOPE.”

“To have hope in difficult times is not some foolish romantic idea. It springs from the fact that human history is a history not just made up of cruelty, but made of compassion, too, and sacrifice, courage, kindness … love,” said Sofia Lucas, Vogue Portugal’s editor-in-chief, in her editor’s letter.

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100% Hope. A edição de setembro da @vogueportugal é dedicada à esperança: a nossa, a sua, a de todos. Numa capa com uma etiqueta verdadeira em poliéster 100% reciclado e made in Portugal, não é só por este e outros detalhes especiais que deve ser colecionada. Numa altura em que todos precisamos de mais esperança, há conteúdo para alimentá-la em 368 páginas. Já disponível na loja online – Vogue.pt/shop; nas bancas a 3 de setembro. #bethechangeyouwanttoseeintheworld — 100% Hope. Vogue Portugal's september issue is dedicated to Hope: our, yours, everyone's. A cover that features a real label made of 100% recycled polyester, in Portugal, it's not just because of this and other special details that this is a collectible. In a time when we all need that bit more hope, there's more than enough content to feed it throughout all 368 pages. Available now on our e-shop – Vogue.pt/shop; on stands on September 3rd. #vogueportugal #editorinchief @sofia.slucas #coverartdirection @jsantanagq #hope #hopeissue #septemberissue #makinghopeglobal #vogue @lighthouse.publishing

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Vogue’s “Hope” issue fosters togetherness in a period of history that craves hope in abundance.

“Vogue’s theme of hope is significant to our society because it illustrates that there may just be some light and the end of all this and that we need to persevere to our end goal despite the circumstances,” Osorio said.

As the September “Hope” covers are unveiled, the updated list can be found on the Vogue website.